A post courtesy of Nigel Bailey
Yesterday I attended the Interface xpo in Palmerston North - great excuse to get the motorbike out and have a longer ride too.
There were a few trade stands there with people plying their wares but the best part of the expo was the workshops - as long as you were selective about what you wanted to hear (as per usual I guess).
The key theme that came across for me from all of the presenters (and some were actual, real life practicing teachers) was that wireless is going to take over at most schools and students will be bringing in their own devices, be they laptops, i pads or i pods. All of these devices are able to be used as research tools and will obviously save the school to capital outlay on hardware. It was also suggested that the students are more likely to use the technology at home (after school for goodness sake) to carry out school work. They even have evidence to back up this statement froma primary school in South Island.
The importance of a good wireless network was emphasised and the cost of setting this up was easily covered by the lack of expenditure on computers.
Personally I like the idea of the students bringing in their own hardware as it will free up space in the classroom, ease access to resources and they will look after the gear far more than they do the schools. Most parents I think will be able to finance one of the suggested devices and ownership of the device will certainly encourage kids to play with it and hopefully apply themselves to the tasks set in class.
What will happen in our schools? We'll have to wait and see, but the opportunities are there and the technology is there so it will come down to the bean counters in all of our schools (and the Government) I guess.
If you haven't come across the Interface magazine in your staff room try looking at it online, it has some good ideas.
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